“Initially, when tablets hit the market, there was excitement around what we could do with them in education,” he said. “You have the ‘bright and shiny’ effect—but then you had to deal with how you make it work for education. Now, we’re examining how we change instruction, and we start there, and then focus on the impact that the technology will have on the instruction and how the technology can support the plan—not the way the plan can support a specific piece of technology.”
One of the most important steps in the entire initiative, Berg said, was the first step: Defining the district’s desired outcome or goal.
“Learning doesn’t stop when the school day ends,” Berg said. “We expect them to be able to do homework, research, and interact with one another after hours and in the evening as part of the learning process—that’s what the Common Core call for, this interactive, collaborative learning.”
The Riverside Secondary School in British Columbia began a PC-based one-to-one digital immersion program about five years ago, and last year partnered with Samsung through its Samsung School initiative to pilot 31 Samsung Galaxy Note mobile devices.
“It gave us our first opportunity to work in a mobile world with students using tablets—that was different for us,” said Anthony Ciolfitto, the school’s principal. “It gave us a whole host of different challenges and excitement.”
A physics class piloted the program, in part because that particular teacher embraces technology and is not afraid to try new things, Ciolfitto said. But Ciolfitto also wanted to see how the tablets might impact learning when used for something other than word processing and basic functions.
“It’s different in a physics environment,” he said. “For the most part they’re writing and graphing and we wanted to see how those devices would work in that kind of environment.”
This past fall, Riverside used Samsung School in its science co-op program, which is a cohort of students taking chemistry, physics, math, and a work experience as a group.
“We wanted to pilot this because our goal is to become a school that’s really a one-to-one school,” Ciolfitto said. “We needed to look at how our infrastructure would work in a mobile world and see if this would support our teaching and learning goals.”
Next, the school will scale up the pilot, and also will begin a bring-your-own-device program for its ninth grade students. Planning for both of these next steps is critical.
(Next page: Important one-to-one considerations)
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